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Alan Reynolds

Born 1926, Newmarket, Suffolk. Died August 2014.

Reynolds’ interest in drawing and painting began when he was a boy but it was not until he was twenty-nine that he received any formal instruction; this was after the end of the Second World War during which he had seen active service at the front line in Holland and Germany. At the end of the war and before demobilisation he attended the British army’s department of education which was set up at Göttingen University where he studied art as well as training to become an army instructor in visual education. In Hanover he was able to visit the Landes Museum where the exhibition of modern art condemned by the Nazis was showing; here he was struck by the work of the Blaue Reiter and Die Brűcke groups, also becoming familiar with the art and writing of Paul Klee and other continental avant garde artists who had a profound influence. These included Mondrian, Albers, Schwitters and, in particular, Sophie Taeuber-Arp.

After leaving the army he became a full-time student at the Woolwich Polytechnic School between 1948 and 1952 when he was awarded a scholarship at the Royal College of Art. Initially the paintings he produced were figurative, often invoking the natural landscape in the English neo-romantic tradition; they earned high critical regard leading to solo exhibitions in London in 1952 and New York in 1954. By the end of the fifties, however, his earlier enthusiasm for the ideas and art of the German artists – particularly Paul Klee – took over and he switched to non-representative painting in which structures and forms were the key components.

A further change occurred around 1968 when he began to produce starkly abstract drawings, prints and constructed reliefs, often totally white. The critical success of these over many years established an international reputation for Reynolds with major retrospective exhibitions in Germany and France, as well as the UK. He is represented in many public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Reynolds was also influential as a teacher, lecturing at the Central School of Art and Design from 1954-61 and later, as Senior Lecturer at St Martin's School of Art until 1999.

Structure: Brown, White, Black and Green
Mariposa Nocturna